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UN to launch Libyan talks in Geneva despite doubt over participants

January 14, 2015 at 2:12 pm

The United Nations said it will launch on Wednesday a new round of talks between warring Libyan parties in Geneva, Switzerland in an effort to end the escalating crisis in Libya, Anadolu Agency reported.

“The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has confirmed that the meeting of Libyan parties will start tomorrow Wednesday 14 January 2015 in the afternoon at the Palais des Nations in Geneva,” the UN announced in a statement. However, it remains unclear who will attend the talks after the statement pointed to a list of participants, without specifying their political affiliation.

“The primary objective of this political dialogue will be to reach agreement on the unity government that enjoys wide support, and pave the way for a stable environment for the constitutional process in which a new permanent constitution can be adopted,” the UNSMIL statement read. “Discussions will also seek to put in place the necessary security arrangements in order to bring an end to the armed hostilities raging in different parts of the country.”

The European Union described the Geneva talks as a “last chance”. EU’s High Representative Vice-President Federica Mogherini said in a statement: “These developments, particularly the meeting scheduled to take place in Geneva next week, offer a crucial opportunity to bring key stakeholders together to find a peaceful solution based on dialogue.”

She added: “Libya is at a critical juncture; the different actors should be in no doubt of the gravity of the situation that the country finds itself in. The opportunity to establish a ceasefire and find a political solution should not be wasted.”

Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Bernadino Leon has been leading efforts to resolve the security and political crisis in Libya. A first round of talks was held in the city of Ghadames while the second was postponed several times because the parties disagreed on the participants and the meeting venue.

Since the ouster of longtime dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been plagued by political polarization between Nationalist and Islamist forces.